The Helping Hands of Our Community Podcast
How to find data about your cause area
I’m excited to announce that this past month, Roger Suclupe and I launched The Helping Hands of Our Community Podcast - a conversation dedicated to offering insights, interviewing guests, and generating dialogue about the social determinants of health.
We’ve had some amazing people join the pod with a deep breadth and depth of expertise on the many different ways our social environments impact our health and wellbeing. Our guests and topics have included:
Why your nonprofit needs a theory of change - And how to make one
It’s absolutely critical that your grant applications and other written materials make a compelling case for the need of your nonprofit’s work using available data. But where can you find the data you need to make the case? In this blog post, I share some examples using federal, state, local, and organizational data to give you ideas on how to use data to make the case for your work.
Case example: How to create a culture of data at your nonprofit
So how do you demonstrate impact? One critical piece of the impact puzzle is something called a theory of change - sometimes referred to as a logic model. A theory of change is a set of sentences or a visual diagram that describes how you bring about change in your cause area. It explains how you help the people and communities you serve get from point A to point B.
Five reasons nonprofits should invest in data and impact
So what's important when creating a culture of data and impact at your nonprofit? This past week, I coauthored a paper with Delana Murdock and Shantiqua Neely of A Child’s Place in the Journal of Children and Poverty that provides a case example of how we have worked together to build a culture of data at the organizational level and shares what we’ve learned along the way.
If you’re a nonprofit leader you know that you’ve got a lot to handle all at one time. You run programs, raise money, manage staff, navigate board meetings – the list is endless. So why should you invest your time and resources in data and impact? Check out this blog post to learn more about five reasons to invest in data and impact at your nonprofit.
What's holding your nonprofit back?
Today I wanted to express my gratitude to all veterans & those who work w/ veterans in the nonprofit/social sector for your continued work to bring about a more peaceful world. For those of you in the social sector: how might we improve our services and programs to better meet the needs of today's vets?
To start your thinking, take a look at data from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Review: Engine of Impact
You’re about to enter a meeting with a key community stakeholder and funder of your cause area. You spent weeks trying to get a meeting with her, and finally you were able to sneak on to her schedule. It’s a 12:30p meeting, and your stomach lurches: you haven’t each lunch yet, and you realize that your meeting got scheduled during the her lunch hour.
Nothing like starting a meeting off with “sorry to interrupt your lunch!”.
Cost analysis: A straightforward way for nonprofits to communicate their value
What I love about this book is the way that it talks about data in the context of nonprofits, specifically the way that data is seen that is not just one facet of an organization, off in it’s own silo, but really something that is integrated throughout the decision-making process. And that data is something that is used for decisions not just for programs but also on funding, relationship with boards, managing staff, every aspect of an organization's data is at the forefront of helping nonprofit leaders make decisions.
Creating a data culture
Cost analyses are a type of analysis that allow you to assign a monetary value to some type of social good. It helps you complete the sentence, For every dollar invested in a program or service, you can expect this type of outcome or result.
Cost analyses are particularly useful when an organization is trying to make the case to funders, to stakeholders, and to policymakers about the value and the worthiness of investing in that program or service
I want to take a minute to talk about a data culture.
You might Google “data culture” or ask some people around and they might tell you “oh you know, a data culture is about hiring people on who can do data work at your organization and do fancy graphs,”.
Yes - those things are important. Identifying metrics and being creative about the ways you use information is all important, but that’s not a data culture.
A data culture requires a fundamental shift and thinking in your organization. A data culture is about decision-making - when you approach any decision you make, the first thing you want to ask yourself is what is the information that I need to be able to make an inform decision?